Not A ’Soccer Mom’s SUV’ Equivalent Of An Adventure Bike

Honda’s Africa Twin Adventure Sports makes the jump from concept to production to further expand the CRF1000L lineup. This newest model — dubbed the CRF1000L2 — brings a decidedly more rugged visage to the table along with the same 998 cc powerplant that drives its more street-centric adventure siblings. I submit to you that the importance of this model goes beyond a handful of special features and a clever name; in a way, it fulfills the promise of the capabilities implicit with the “Africa Twin” moniker. The updated engine churns out 94 ponies with street-knobbies to put the power to the pavement and an updated suspension system to keep the rough roads and trails from rattling the fillings out of your head.

  • 2018 - 2019 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports
  • Year:
    2018- 2019
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Parallel-Twin
  • Displacement:
    998 cc
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph
  • Price:
    15099
  • Price:

Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports Design

2018 - 2019 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports
- image 752993
The Adventure Sports isn't another 'soccer mom's SUV' of adventure bikes.

I’ll be honest; I never thought the Africa Twin bikes really lived up to their names. Clearly set up for work in entirely civilized areas and pon paved roads, the name just seems a bit pretentious, and the AT more like a soccer mom’s SUV than a globetrotter proper. Credit where it’s due, the factory atoned for those sins with the “Adventure Sports” variant that inspires confidence, especially once you get past the point where black turns to brown.

Honda beefed up the front fairing and stretched the windshield 3.1 inches in order to deliver greater protection from the weather with vents in the windshield to minimize the head-buffet effect. Like to ride in cold weather? The factory has you covered with handguards and heated handgrips as part of the standard equipment package. Like to ride long distances? The Adventure Sports is a fuel camel that will have far more stamina than yourself due to the enlarged, 6.37-gallon fuel tank.

Part of the visual (and quite literal) weight of the fuel-tank hump is offset by the skid plate at the frame’s nadir that provides some protection from terrain strikes; a good thing to have if you plan to do some genuine off-road touring. A digital instrument display provides all the critical metrics on one screen, to include info about the Riding Modes feature, and the designers even chucked on a 12-volt charging point so you can power/charge additional devices on the go.

The lines of the saddle are a bit flatter than the standard AT models, and the handlebars come with another 1.3 inches of rise that make it easier to adopt an upright riding position with room to stand up on the pegs for more technical off-road work. Unfortunately, the stock bike lacks cargo capacity, but the large saddle boxes in the accessories catalog fit the bill nicely and add a nice utilitarian finish to what is already a tough-looking ride.

Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports Chassis

2018 - 2019 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports
- image 752998
Ground clearance and suspension travel shows the Adventure Sports is truly meant for off-road action.

Steel members make up the semi-double cradle frame, and while that’s going to be heavier than an aluminum frame, it’s also going to hold up against the beating it will take when tackling terrain. The steering head comes set for 27.3 degrees of rake with 4.37 inches of trail and a 62.2-inch wheelbase which gives you stability and low fatigue at speed.

Although the Adventure Sports models run the same 21-inch wheel up front and 17-inch in back as the standard AT models, ground clearance is boosted to 10.6 inches off the ground for serious all-terrain use, and seat height can be set at 36.2-inches high or lowered to 35.4-inches. Yeah, that’ll make it harder for vertically-challenged riders, but it’s to be expected on an off-road machine as it allows for the 9.9 inches of suspension travel up front and 9.4 inches out back.

USD Showa forks support the front end on 45 mm tubes, and amazingly, come non-adjustable. The factory makes up for that somewhat with the full trinity of adjustments at the rear shock — compression/rebound damping and spring preload, so you can at least dial in for conditions and preference at one end. To haul it down, the factory provides a pair of four-pot anchors and 310 mm discs up front with a 256 mm disc out back and ABS protection all-around that can be switched off in back for those times when you actually need to be able to break the rear wheel loose.

Front Suspension/Travel: 45 mm inverted telescopic fork/ 9.9 in.
Rear Suspension/Travel: Pro-Link® system w/ single shock/ 9.4 in.
Front Brakes: Dual 310 mm rotors, two four-piston hydraulic calipers; ABS
Rear Brake: 256 mm rotor, single one-piston hydraulic caliper; ABS
Front Tire: 90/90-21
Rear Tire: 150/70R-18

Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports Drivetrain

2018 - 2019 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports
- image 752995
It has better mid-range torque now so you don't have to wind it up to navigate terrain.

The 998 cc parallel-twin mill saw a number of upgrades this year. It dropped some weight, courtesy of the lithium-ion battery that cuts 5.1 pounds from the total and the lightened balance shaft. Changes were made to increase the mid-range grunt. The intake funnels were stretched by 20 mm and the exhaust was reworked to provide 94-horsepower at 7,500 rpm and 73 pounds o’ grunt at six grand.

In order to help the pilot manage the power, Honda blessed the AT-AS with a Rider Mode function that controls the engine braking levels, power delivery and traction-control intervention, all enabled by the ride-by-wire throttle control. A slipper clutch adds yet another layer of contact-patch protection to the bike.

The head has four valves in each combustion chamber with dual spark plugs for improved induction and ignition all around, but the 10-to-1 compression ratio may make it hard to find gas in, shall we say, less-developed areas. Seems short-sighted for an adventure bike. As with the standard AT, the AS comes with a choice between the six-speed manual transmission, and a six-speed DCT gearbox that effectively operates like an automatic transmission, or a semi-auto with clutchless, push-button shifts. No matter which you choose, a tough chain-type final drive makes the final connection to the rear wheel.

Engine: liquid-cooled Unicam® four-stroke 22.5º parallel-twin. SOHC; four valves per cylinder
Displacement: 998 cc
Bore x Stroke: 92 mm x 75 mm
Clutch: Multiplate wet
Compression Ratio: 10.0:1
Induction: PGM-FI electronic fuel injection (Throttle By Wire)
Ignition: Full transistorized ignition
Starter: Electric
Transmission: 6-speed Manual (DCT model: 6-speed Automatic DCT)
Final Drive: Chain

Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports Pricing

2018 - 2019 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports
- image 753006
MSRP for 2019 is just a bill or two up from last year, $15.1k for the six-speed manual and $15.9k for the DCT model.

MSRP on the 2019 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports is $15,099 and the DCT model $15,899, both in a silver and gray two-tone colorway. Honda covers your new Adventure Sports with a one-year, transferable warranty.

Model ID: CRF1000L2 (DCT model: GCF 1000L2D)
Warranty: One year, transferable, unlimited-mileage limited warranty (Extended coverage available with a HondaCare Protection Plan®)
Colors:
└ 2018: White/Blue/Red
└ 2019: Light Silver/Gray Metallic
Price:
└ 2018: $14,999 (DCT:$15,699)
└ 2019: $15,099 (DCT: $15,899)

Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports Competitors

2018 - 2019 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports
- image 752991
2019 Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro
- image 801176
With such a significant difference in price, you'll have to decide if the power and electronics are worth it.

Honda puts out a solid product here, so I went straight to the top shelf and grabbed the Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro for my head-to-head with the Africa Twin Adventure Sports. The Ducati has the adventure-typical bird’s-beak fairing up front in contrast to the Africa Twin’s snub nose, and from an aesthetic standpoint I prefer the Honda. The rest of the “1260” displays the usual Ducati voluptuousness with a high tank and deep swale for the pilot’s seat, and I’ll leave it to you as to whether the balance of the bike makes up for the nose.

I’ll tell you what does get my attention, the 1,262 cc engine that churns out 158 horsepower to give Ducati an edge. That advantage continues into the electronics suite as well. The safety and ride-quality systems cover all the bases on the Duc, while the Honda is limited to a switchable ABS and its proprietary variable power-delivery feature as its only electronic perks.

Honda comes off looking like the better choice for off-road work. Although both bikes roll on wire-spoke wheels, both ends of the Honda surpass the 7.3 inches of travel on the Ducati front and rear. The Africa Twin has something going for it that the Duc can’t match, and that’s the Dual Clutch Transmission that delivers automatic-style performance with no need to pull a clutch or toe a shifter.

At the checkout, we get the rest of the story. The Enduro commands a premium price at $21,999, about six-grand more than the Honda, and there’s the real trade off. You’ll have to decide if the greater price is worth the power and ride-quality tech.

He Said

“Gotta say my faith in the family is restored. Well, that’s not entirely true; I never had any faith to begin with, so let’s say I finally believe the family has lived up to its potential. Since the original recipe was such a success, I expect this newest effort to propel Honda into new vistas, both within the market and off the beaten track.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “I am pleased that Honda got onboard with a real off-road adventure bike in this Africa Twin line. It’s quite apparent in the suspension travel and ground clearance that this bike is intended to go off the pavement. I guess like the term ’tour bike’, the term ’adventure bike’ has different meanings in different places. For me, ’adventure’ means off-road touring and not just hitting a bumpy road once in a while.”

Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: liquid-cooled Unicam® four-stroke 22.5º parallel-twin. SOHC; four valves per cylinder
Displacement: 998 cc
Bore x Stroke: 92 mm x 75 mm
Clutch: Multiplate wet
Compression Ratio: 10.0:1
Induction: PGM-FI electronic fuel injection (Throttle By Wire)
Ignition: Full transistorized ignition
Starter: Electric
Transmission: 6-speed Manual (DCT model: 6-speed Automatic DCT)
Final Drive: Chain
Chassis:
Front Suspension/Travel: 45 mm inverted telescopic fork/ 9.9 in.
Rear Suspension/Travel: Pro-Link® system w/ single shock/ 9.4 in.
Front Brakes: Dual 310 mm rotors, two four-piston hydraulic calipers; ABS
Rear Brake: 256 mm rotor, single one-piston hydraulic caliper; ABS
Front Tire: 90/90-21
Rear Tire: 150/70R-18
Dimensions & Capacities:
Wheelbase: 62.2 inches
Seat Height: Standard position 36.2 inches/Low position 35.4 inches
Curb Weight: 532.6 lbs (DCT model: 555.8 lbs)
Fuel Capacity: 6.4 gallons including 1.0-gallon reserve
Top Speed: 125 mph (est)
Details:
Model ID: CRF1000L2 (DCT model: GCF 1000L2D)
Warranty: One year, transferable, unlimited-mileage limited warranty (Extended coverage available with a HondaCare Protection Plan®)
Colors:
└ 2018: White/Blue/Red
└ 2019: Light Silver/Gray Metallic
Price:
└ 2018: $14,999 (DCT:$15,699)
└ 2019: $15,099 (DCT: $15,899)

Further Reading

Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro

2019 Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro
- image 801192

See our review of the Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro.

Honda Africa Twin (CRF1000L)

2018 - 2019 Honda Africa Twin
- image 803900

See our review of the Honda Africa Twin.

Honda

ALLYN IMAGES - DO NOT DELETE
- image 794666

Read more Honda news.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: honda.com, ducati.com

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